The courage of our passion: examining the personal costs negotiated by three African American women executive educational leaders in urban contexts
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This record of study is an examination of the personal costs negotiated by three African American women central office educational leaders. The focus is to identify the personal costs that these women experience as they work as leaders in three different urban educational settings. The purpose of this study is to give voice to these women and to promote the utilization of their knowledge and skills by identifying the costs, consequences of the costs and the ways these women cope, as well as to provide research for the small number of African American female central office leaders. This qualitative study included some of my experiences related to personal costs as well, since I share race and gender characteristics with the women participants and was an integral part of this research study. In addition I used feminist and Black feminist epistemology to guide my work. To access the data, I interviewed each woman twice in a location of her choice. The interviews were audio-taped and then transcribed. The transcriptions were read and re-read and the data unitized. The data were coded by the action or type of experience. Data were compiled into categories and then within each category subcategories were noted. The categories were derived from a combination of codes emerging from the data as well as core themes of Black feminist epistemology. The women in my study were well educated; two of them had doctoral degrees. They noted cost associated with their work as professionals as well as costs associated with their families and home life. Some identified costs were reduced time with families, health issues, few mentors, the scrutiny and burden of being the only African American female on their level in their organizations and salary inequities. To manage the costs the women utilized hired assistance, utilized the support of family and friends, were prayerful and maintained a commitment which centered on the vocation of children‟s education. Recommendations for solutions include a collective sponsorship to address the costs. In addition, it is in the best interest of everyone in schools to have more women like these leaders.
Page, Sue Webb (2007). The courage of our passion: examining the personal costs negotiated by three African American women executive educational leaders in urban contexts. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from